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October issue

One of these days I am going to join "Procastinator's Anonymous" - I just keep putting it off.

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Last Updated: 2010-11-30 04:26 UTC

PGTS Journal Edition 0019
October, 2003


Missed Deadline

Or should I say yet another missed deadline. The October issue simply did not occur. However since I have set up a rolling month process, I have to put something here. One of these days I swear I am going to join "Procastinator's Anonymous" - I just keep putting it off.

Good Bye Dick, You will not be missed!

So while looking for something to put here. I have lifted some of the material from my outbox, which contained considerable comment about the government re-shuffle in late September ...

Graeme Phillipson, who writes for Next, the IT supplement in Tuesday's The Age, composed a rather gleeful farewell to Senator Alston, who as a result of the re-shuffle, is finally leaving the top job in the Department of Communications IT and the Arts (DCITA). His departure will be accompanied by a resounding chorus of cheers from IT&C professionals around the country.

In fact, rather than a fond farewell to Alston, Phillipson's article was an open letter to the incoming Minister (Darryl Williams, former Attorney General). In his article, Phillipson asserts that he (Williams) had exceedingly small shoes to fill, and sincerely hoped that he would do better than his under-achieving predecessor (after all he could hardly do worse!) A cartoon above the article showed a rather bemused Darryl Williams surveying his new work-place, wrecked beyond belief!

At PGTS, we are not inclined to be as generous as The Age. Over the years, IT&C has built a reputation for mismanagement, poor decision-making and cost over-runs. This has sometimes been undeserved, but mostly due to unrealistic expectations, over-optimistic estimates, and the ephemeral (dare we say "soft") nature of software. When it comes to mismanagement however, the former head of DCITA has lowered the bar considerably, plumbing new, and hitherto unimagined, depths in poor performance. So here is a brief summary of some the exceptional low-lights:

A low light in the former minister's career actually occurred after it ended! This month, just after quitting the communications portfolio, Senator Alston admitted to owning Telstra shares during his time as minister. He said that he had not been aware of these shares which were in a family trust (???!!!). The Prime Minister spoke in support of his Minister. Apparently this did not contravene the guidelines, which the PM had laid down for public accountability, and did not constitute a conflict of interest. In which case, a genuine conflict of interest would be something to behold! Perhaps Australian citizens could run that defence next time they run afoul of the ATO (fat bloody chance citizens!)

At PGTS we would like to join with many other IT&C professionals in Australia and wish Senator Alston Bon Voyage, (or maybe just voyage?) and hope that it is long, long time before he ever has anything to do with industry again!